This fourteenth-century Tibetan classic serves as an excellent introduction to basic Buddhism as practiced throughout India and Tibet and describes the process of entering the Buddhist path through study and reflection.
It begins with setting forth the structure of Buddhist education and the range of its subjects, and we’re treated to a rousing litany of the merits of such instruction. We’re then introduced to the buddhas of our world and eon—three of whom have already lived, taught, and passed into transcendence—before examining in detail the fourth, our own Buddha Shakyamuni. Butön tells the story of Shakyamuni’s past lives and then presents the path the Buddha followed (the same that all buddhas must follow). After the Buddha’s story, Butön recounts three compilations of Buddhist scriptures and then quotes from sacred texts that foretell the lives and contributions of great Indian Buddhist masters, which he then relates, concluding with the tale of the eventual demise and disappearance of the Buddhist doctrine. The text ends with an account of the inception and spread of Buddhism in Tibet, focused mainly on the country’s kings and early adopters of the foreign faith. An afterword by Ngawang Zangpo, one of the translators, discusses and contextualizes Butön’s exemplary life, his turbulent times, and his prolific works.
The Complete Nyingma Tradition from Sutra to Tantra, Books 1 to 10: Foundations of the Buddhist Path
In 1838, Choying Tobden Dorje, a Buddhist yogi-scholar of eastern Tibet, completed a multivolume masterwork that traces the entire path of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism from beginning to end. Written by a lay practitioner for laypeople, it was intended to be accessible, informative, inspirational, and above all, practical. Its twenty-five books, or topical divisions, offer a comprehensive and detailed view of the Buddhist path according to the early translation school of Tibetan Buddhism, spanning the vast range of Buddhist teachings from the initial steps to the highest esoteric teachings of great perfection. Choying Tobden Dorje’s magnum opus appears in English here for the first time.
In Foundations of the Buddhist Path, which covers the first ten of the treatise’s twenty-five books, the author surveys the scope of the entire work and then begins with the topics that set the cornerstones for all subsequent Buddhist practice: what constitutes proper spiritual apprenticeship, how to receive the teachings, how to make the best use of this life, and how to motivate ourselves to generate effort on the spiritual path. He then describes refuge and the vows that define the path of individual liberation before turning to the bodhisattva’s way—buddha nature, how to uplift the mind to supreme awakening, the bodhisattva’s training, and the attainments of the paths leading to supreme awakening.
The first Tibetan to attain complete enlightenment was in all probability the woman Yeshe Tsogyal, the closest disciple of Padmasambhava, the master who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century. This classical text is not only a biography but also an inspiring example of how the Buddha's teaching can be put into practice. Lady of the Lotus-Born interweaves profound Buddhist teachings with a colorful narrative that includes episodes of adventure, court intrigue, and personal searching. The book will appeal to students of Tibetan Buddhism and readers interested in the role of women in Buddhism and world religions.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche inspired Matthieu Ricard to create this anthology by telling him that “when we come to appreciate the depth of the view of the eight great traditions [of Tibetan Buddhism] and also see that they all lead to the same goal without contradicting each other, we think, ‘Only ignorance can lead us to adopt a sectarian view.’” Ricard has selected and translated some of the most profound and inspiring teachings from across these traditions.The selected teachings are taken from the sources of the traditions, including the Buddha himself, Nagarjuna, Guru Rinpoche, Atisha, Shantideva, and Asanga; from great masters of the past, including Thogme Zangpo, the Fifth Dalai Lama, Milarepa, Longchenpa, and Sakya Pandita; and from contemporary masters, including the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and Mingyur Rinpoche. They address such topics as the nature of the mind; the foundations of taking refuge, generating altruistic compassion, acquiring merit, and following a teacher; view, meditation, and action; and how to remove obstacles and make progress on the path.
Renowned as a peerless teacher, practitioner, and scholar, Longchenpa thoroughly studied and mastered every one of the many Buddhist vehicles and lineages of teachings existing in Tibet at his time. Through his radiant intellect and meditative accomplishment, in both his teachings and written works, he was able to reconcile the seeming discrepancies and contradictions between the various presentations of the view and the path within the many lineages of transmission. His written works are also famous for being able to transfer true blessings just by reading or hearing his enlightened words.
Compiled from numerous Tibetan and Bhutanese sources, including Longchenpa’s autobiography, and stories of his previous lives and subsequent rebirths, The Life of Longchenpa weaves an inspiring tale of wonder and magic, of extraordinary visions and spiritual insight, set in the kingdoms of fourteenth-century Tibet and Bhutan. It also reveals for the first time fascinating details of his ten years of self-exile in Bhutan, stories that were unknown to his Tibetan biographers.